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Mr. Bond may have been the most popular spy of the 60's, but there were dozens of others on television and in the movies. Everyone from Maxwell Smart to Fred Flintstone got into the act... which just meant more music for us!
"The Man From U.N.C.L.E." (1964 -1968) spawned toys, comic books, a Girl From U.N.C.L.E. spin-off, and a couple of soundtrack LPs. Neither is the actual score, but tunes by the different composers (Jerry Goldsmith, Lalo Schifrin, Walter Scharf, Mort Stevens, Gerald Fried, and Robert Drasnin) re-arranged and conducted by Hugo Montenegro. While the records are scarce there are several CD incarnations. (Look for the one on RCA with both albums on one CD... as it should be).
"The Girl From U.N.C.L.E." soundtrack LP, arranged and conducted by Teddy Randazzo with tracks by Dave Grusin, Howard Shores, and Teddy Randazzo has a punchier version of Goldsmith's U.N.C.L.E. theme and may be the best of the three LPs. It is available on an MGM/Varese CD.
FOUR incredible CD sets of original score music have been released by Film Score Monthly. Volumes 1, 2, and 3 are each two CD sets. Volume 3 includes music from "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E." and volume 4 is music from the U.N.C.L.E. films. Absolute treasures with extensive liner notes as usual.
Daniel Pemberton's score to "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." (2015) is on the Water Tower Music label. I have to admit to some ambivalence about this one. Always wary of someone ruining a treasured franchise I saw the film with fingers crossed. The film is great and the score is out of this world with one little caveat. NO U.N.C.L.E. MUSIC! (Yes, I heard the two notes of the Montenegro theme on the radio, but that doesn't count). None of the themes and motifs from the original series music were used! Having said that, the score is SO good that only a fanatic like me would gripe. So there.
"The Avengers" ran from 1962 until 1969 (It hit America in 1965). It came back as "The New Avengers" in 1976 and as a feature film in 1998. Although tracking down recordings was difficult just a few years ago, you can now overdose on Avengers music with a little hunting.
"The Music Of Laurie Johnson" released in 2008 on The Edsel label was an answer to fans prayers. It's a slip-cased, 3cd set of music compiled, annotated and mastered from the original master tapes by Johnson himself. Disc 1 contains seventy minutes of music from sixteen different episodes of The Avengers!
Varese Sarabande released an Lp of Laurie Johnson with the London Studio Orchestra playing several of his tunes from both the Avengers and New Avengers on one side and The Professionals on the other. The same Avenger tracks are on the Varese CD, but with other Johnson scores.
A 2-CD set of Howard Blake's music for the Tara King episodes of "The Avengers" was released by Silva Screen. There is an earlier CD (promo, boot?) floating around that has several tracks not on the Silva release - so you'll need to find both!
"The Rose and the Gun" is a Johnson collection with different recordings of the Avengers and New Avengers themes as well as the "tag scene" music from the Tara episodes.
An odd little remnant of the lounge music craze is "Music For TV Dinners, the 60's" which includes one Avengers cut titled "Chase That Car"... That track and two others, "Fisticuffs" and "Lonely Stranger" can also be found on a hard to find CD from the KPM music library simply entitled "The 60s". I think these are all Johnson and the London Studio Orchestra although they are uncredited. But wait! There's more...
Before we got the Avengers here in the U.S. Steed had a couple of different partners and "The Avengers" had a different title theme composed by Johnny Dankworth. You can find it on a couple of Dankworth collections on CD or LPs in the used bins.
As long as you're going through the bins look for the two songs recorded by Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman, "Kinky Boots" and "Let's Keep It Friendly". Honor Blackman played Steed's second partner, Cathy Gale and the songs are a lot of fun. There may be a CD out there somewhere too.
Apparently an alternate vocal theme song was added when the Honor Blackman episodes were shown in Italy! A 45 was released on the Bluebell label 1965 by the "Avengers", with an uncredited vocal by Carmen Villani
A 2009 release of the third set of Laurie Johnson music includes one CD of original score music from The New Avengers.
"The Avengers" (1998) (the movie) has had its share of criticism, but one of the bright spots was the music. There's a pop soundtrack with little or no connection to the film save for the Avengers theme done by Marius Devries which is fantastic! Then Joel Mcneely's score to the film turned out to be a wonderful surprise as well. If you didn't like the film (and you probably didn't) at least give the score a try.
The 60's soundtrack LPs for "The Saint" and "Secret Agent" by Edwin Astley can both be found on one CD on the Collectibles label.
Network put out a 4-disc set from "The Saint"('62-'69) with all the music from the color years ('65 on?).
Simon Templar hit the big screen in "The Saint" (1997) and for some reason he was an American (and Val Kilmer), but be that as it may, Graeme Revell gave us a nice score with hints of Astley's theme if you listen for them. (Templar's car alarm even played the theme.) Orbital provided a techno tie-in version you can find on a single and on the pop tune "soundtrack".
"Danger Man (1960-1962)" had originally been a half hour show with a title theme of the same name. It returned a couple of years later as "Secret Agent (1964-1966)" in an hour-long format. Fans probably know that "Secret Agent Man" was not the original theme for Secret Agent. The original theme was titled "High Wire". (Secret Agent Man was added when the show came to America.) The Network label has released a great 2 CD set of Astley's music from the half hour series and a FIVE CD set from the hour series!
"The Prisoner" (1968-69) starred Patrick McGoohan as Number 6, a secret agent spirited off to "The Village" and well... I can't explain it all here. Some time around '86 an LP turned up on the Bam Caruso label. Later a CD and then another and another were put out by Silva Screen (and later re-released to commemorate the 35th anniversary). The second Silva releases re-arranged the tracks to more accurately reflect the episodes and their viewing order. They include both original music written for the show AND the library music used in the episodes. But wait...
A more recent 3 CD set on the Network label has EVERY bit of original music written for the show including unreleased music (and most of it is NOT on the Silva releases!)
Add to that a 3-CD set of The Chappel Music Library music used in the show (limited to 1000 copies) and you're in Prisoner heaven!
Real treasure hunters will want to get hold of a CD single put out by "SIX OF ONE", the Prisoner Appreciation Society. It includes "High Wire" (from "Danger Man", "Dry Bones" by the Four Lads (not included on any of the compilations), and a difficult to find pop version of the Prisoner theme by Ron Grainer. Beyond that, you'll need a copy of The Beatles "All You Need Is Love", a big balloon, and you'll be all set.
"The Prisoner" (2009) miniseries score by Rupert Gregson-Williams is on a Varese Sarabande CD minus the Brian Wilson tunes used in the show. Nice music for contemplating suicide.
One of the two most identifiable spy themes in the world (the other being the James Bond theme of course) is Lalo Schifrin's incredible "Mission Impossible" theme. Two Soundtrack albums were released in the 60's on the DOT label. "Mission Impossible" and "More Mission Impossible". Thankfully, they can both be found on the CD "Mission Anthology".
GNP Crescendo released a CD "The Best Of Mission Impossible Then And Now" which included music cues from the original series by Schifrin and from the 1988 revival by John E. Davis. There is also an interview with Peter Graves.
Then someone had the idea to make a "Mission Impossible" (1996) movie and make Jim Phelps the bad guy. At least we got some more music. First the pop "soundtrack, worthwhile only for a couple of versions of the theme, and then the score by Danny Elfman. A noisy action score with the Schifrin theme thrown in.
Why doesn't someone just ask Mr. Schifrin to do the score? Apparently they asked Alan Sylvestri, but didn't like his ideas. His rejected score can be found on this bootleg.
Hans Zimmer took over for "Mission Impossible 2" (2000) giving us a nice action score with some beautiful guitar music to listen to while suffering through the movie.
"Mission Impossible 3" (2006) was pretty good and so was the Michael Giacchino score which used the theme nicely (which is really all that matters).
Joe Kraemer joins the I.M team with a nice score to "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" (2015) on the La-La Land Records label.
"I Spy" (1965-1968), starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby had an original score for each of its 82 episodes. Two-thirds composed by Earle Hagen, and one-third by Hugo Friedhofer. Hagen himself produced and recorded the first LP on the Warner Bros. label in 1966 and Capitol produced the second one in 1968. They each have different arrangements of the I Spy theme and a couple of tracks are the same tune with different arrangements and titles. Most importantly, they're BOTH ON CD!
Yep, Film Score Monthly released both LPs on one CD as well as an earlier CD with five of Hagen's original episode scores. These are the original score recordings as heard in the show! Some of the themes are the tunes used for the LPs and it's great to hear them this way. As Hagen scored 53 of the shows episodes it might be a good idea to pester FSM for a volume three!
The movie version of "I Spy" (2002) didn't seem to use any music from the series so the less said the better.
"International Detective" (1959) on the Harkit label is one of the crossover shows that helped usher in the age of the secret agent. Although the show's theme is kind of funny, it has early Edwin Astley music that wouldn't be out of place with his Secret Agent/The Saint scores.
"Man From Interpol" (1960) helped bridge the gap from the 50's detective to the 60's spy and was the first jazz score for a British television series. This knockout score by Tony Crombie is also on the Harkit label...twice! Their first release (with the original U.S. album cover) had 30 tracks, many previously unreleased, but a few missing from the original LP. Their more recent release (with the British cover art) corrected that, but sacrificed a couple of the unreleased tracks.
"Man in a Suitcase" (1967-68) which starred Richard Bradford has a five (count 'em FIVE!) disc release on the Network label and includes over 300 pieces of music by Ron Grainer, Albert Elms and Freddie Phillips specially commissioned for the series!
"Burke's Law" (1963-65) was a cop show about a millionaire police detective driving around in a Rolls Royce solving murders so why is it included here? Because in 1965 it became "Amos Burke, Secret Agent" about a rich guy driving around in a Rolls Royce being a spy. CD release on Harkit as well.
"Honey West" (1965-66), a slinky female detective played by Anne Francis with a pet ocelot was first introduced on an episode of "Burke's Law" (Who Killed The Jackpot) in 1965. The soundtrack by Joseph Mullendore is on CD on the Harkit label.
1965 also gave us one of the greatest shows ever, "Get Smart" (1965-70). The "soundtrack" album for Get Smart was really a story with Max on a mission flashing back to sequences from the show. No music. A CD release on the Raven label has the added treat of Barbara Feldon's two songs, "Max" and "99" from an impossible to find 45. It also includes the substandard version of the theme from one of the TV Tunes disks.
However... the actual theme is included on this "Must See TV" CD. (And it's a TV Tunes production. Go figure
The "Get Smart" (2008) movie score by Trevor Rabin contains a couple of versions of the original theme.
Even Fred Flintstone hit the big screen in "The Man Called Flintstone" (1966) with a soundtrack album that's not half bad.
There is a limited edition, 2 CD set of music from the Hanna-Barbera adventure series "Jonny Quest"(1964-65) put out by La La Land Records with great with music by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera and Hoyt Curtin.
"Jonny Quest in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" was released on 45 and Lp. The LP has a cut titled the Johnny Quest theme with a strong James Bond influence, but I don't think it was ever used in the series.
Hanna Barbera put out a few other spy type albums featuring their cartoon characters like Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole in "Super Spy", "James Bomb" with Super Snooper and Blabbermouth, and of course, Yogi Bear and the Three Stooges in "The Mad, Mad, Dr. No-No".
And lest we forget... Lance Links backup band. They were featured each week in Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp". Don't know if there were other Lance Link LPs, but maybe one is already too many.